This site is under reconstruction and updating in the summer of 2021
This site is under reconstruction and updating in the summer of 2021

Category: Sociological Imaginations

Narrative Power

  NARRATIVE POWER: A SHORT INTERVIEW In this short interview, Ken Plummer tells a little about his new book. Q: Why did you write Narrative Power? Narrative has become a contemporary buzzword: everybody’s talking about it.  There’s now a vast amount of writing by academics in all kinds of different disciplines from literature and the…

Routledge International Handbook of Cosmopolitan Studies

The 2nd edition of The Routledge International Handbook o COSMOPOLITAN STUDIES edited by Gerard Delanty has just been published. It contains some 50 wide ranging original essays. I have a small contribution on COSMOPOLITAN SEXUALITIES s    

50 Years of Decriminalization? Still Queer After All These Years

  To mark the 50th Anniversary Changes in the law…… a recent  little piece written for the British Sociological Association Web site at: British Sociological Association: News: July 27th 50 Years of Decriminalization? Still Queer After All These Years On 27th July 1967, the Sexual Offences Act, ‘an act to amend the law of England…

New Article: On the Infinitude of Life Stories – Still Puzzling Queer Tales After All These Years

I have just published a new short article. This is an extract of an article published in QED: A Journal in GLBTQWorldmaking 4.1 (2017) p189-197.   FROM: Tony Adams and Derek Bolen eds ‘Queer Auto/ethnographies” Forum for QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking. A Story of My Stories Over the years I have told many sexual stories.…

Today is the 10th anniversary of my transplant!

    Everyday, for the past ten years, I have quietly celebrated the joy of a human life. When, on February 18th 2007, I was wheeled into the operating room at King’s Hospital for a liver transplant, my life was saved. Two years earlier I had been diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and had increasingly come…

I am lecturing social psychology for a few weeks

When I started teaching at Essex in 1975, one of my main courses was Social Psychology. This year I am returning ti give four lectures on this course. 40 years on! And the subject has moved on You can find this by clicking here SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY SC213-5-FY 2017 SUPPLEMENTARY HANDOUT FOR WEEKS 17-20, LECTURES 12-15…

Sociology: The Basic 2nd Edition

Sociology: The Basics 2nd edition will be published on May 31st This lively and compact introduction to sociology provides a stimulating and critical guide to the ideas and debates that shape the discipline. The reader is invited to develop a sociological imagination relevant for today’s troubled world. It introduces theory, methods and the history of…

A Poetic for Sociology

The Haunting Of Social Things

We live the social electric
The air we breathe is social.
The tiny things and the major things.
The social haunting of life in vast time and space.

The social is natural and the natural is social.
We do things together, drenched with people,
attuned to others: there is always the other.
And the haunting of social things.

We make social life stuffed full of the possible
yet we dwell in our habits, the patterns and structures,
the predictable positions we trap ourselves in.
The prisons that engulf us, a daily haunting.

Pounding patterns of structure and wobbly worlds of meaning.
We are prisoners, puppets, and people. Always fragile.
World making actions, and resistance, rebellion-
in worlds not of our making that haunt till we die.

Ubiquitous differences, divisions,dominations: the inhumanities of people.
A haunting ‘matrix of inequalities’: generations at war,
gendered classed races, sexy nations disabled.
And the troubled pathways of excluding and exploiting, dehumanizing and disempowering.

At the brink of a change- a world seething with gushing movements.
Pasts, presents and futures collide in the moment.
Where did it come from and where is it headed?
Cyber capitalisms in global ferment haunting the world.

Standing amazed at this chaos and complexity
of the humanly produced social world;
and its joys and its sufferings,
we celebrate it and we critique these hauntings.

Yet the dreadful dullness of professional knowledge.
Its earnest desire for respectability and order,
abstractions to kill you. Standards to die for.
A dark cloak thrown over the mind.

We need ‘the tricks of the trade’ : practical questions with practical answers.
Rich descriptions and explanations of dense social life.
An intimate familiarity through all the senses.
Explore and respect the empirical world. And look for it hauntings.

We dwell in social tensions, conflicts and contradiction.
Observing schisms, thinking paradox,
and struggling with opposing paths: living with the contradictions.
The hard trick of dealing with them in our lives.

The vast multiplicities of social life: Contested. Contingent. Creative.
And thriving. Progressing. Regressing. Sometimes surviving.
Incorrigibly plural. Intransigently vast.
The complex tales how we order our past.

And the blindness of human beings?
The taken for granted need not be taken for granted.
Doubting the familiar;
living with radical doubt.

Yet all we know is incomplete and open,
Necessarily provisional, partial, perspectival.
Reality is inexhaustible, too complex and dense to be fully comprehended
No finality.  Or closure.

The dream of a better world haunts sociology.
Empowering lives and imagining utopias.
More justice in each generation?
A flourishing life for all?

A dialogue: being personal, being  political?
Passionate knowledge? A garden to cultivate?
A quiet catharsis of comprehension? With the other?
Haunted by doubt, love and hope.

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